Free Inquiry and Free Speech: Is Science Compatible with Democracy?

Professor Steve Fuller, Ph.D., D.Litt., AcSS, FRSA, University of Warwick speaks on two general tendencies in recent science-society relations seem to run counter to each other: People are increasingly interested in science yet increasingly skeptical of scientific authority. Scientists often interpret this development as reflecting a ‘cognitive deficit’ on the part of the public. However, it is just as easy to imagine that the scientists themselves are suffering from a ‘democratic deficit’.

A more useful way to think about this rhetorical impasse is in terms of science becoming ‘customised’, which means, in the first instance, that people are emboldened to judge for themselves which bit of science they accept and reject. An interesting historical model for this development is the Protestant Reformation in Christianity, in which the scientific establishment functions as the Church of Rome.

The event is on Monday,  November 24, from 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., at Fireside Lounge, Union.